Bananas slip up in wet weather
ROCK-solid defence from Luke Warren and two towering 2.10-metre forwards simply weren't enough to get the Gentlemen of Murwillumbah across the line against Byron Bay on Saturday.
With arguably the strongest aspect of their game (their formidable scrum), removed from the equation, the Bananas managed to cross just once in their first pre-season trial as Byron returned south with a hard-fought 12-7 victory.
“Byron Bay asked for non-contested scrums as they had inexperienced props and with the wet conditions felt there may be a safety issue,” Murwillumbah coach Phil Lees said.
“While this removed one of the strongest features of our game it also provided the opportunity to focus more on our patterns of play and establishing combinations.”
Two men quickly establishing themselves at the club are twin brothers Rory and Richard Arnold.
The hulking forwards not only towered over their opposition but showed glimpses of the x-factor Lees hopes they'll inject into the side as the season progresses.
However, Lees said the inclement weather hindered his side's ability to play the running, attacking rugby fans were accustomed to watching last season.
“The wet conditions made ball handling difficult and the ground was very slippery underfoot,” he said.
“Regardless, we made very good ground with our forwards, easily crossing the gain line but failed to capitalise on the hard work with handling errors close to the line costing tries.”
Rory Arnold notched up the club's first try of the year at Brothers Leagues Ground, crossing untouched after a quick tap.
“Rory's try came after a solid build up from the forwards,” Lees said.
The day ended dismally for exciting new prospect Matt Alexander who paired up with 2010 back of the year Brett Underwood in the halves.
His game was cut short with a nasty cut above the eye after a head clash with one of his former teammates.